Just because both these ingredients have the term “pickling” in them, they are not at all the same. But, they are essential components when you make pickles or canned food. So, in this article, we will bring everything you need to know about pickling spice vs pickling salt.

Pickling spice is a combination of whole, crumbled spices and sometimes herbs. On the contrary, pickling salt is a single element made of non-iodized salt. It is basically pure sodium chloride without any additives or anti-caking agents. However, they are very different from each other with diverse textures, usage, and color.

Hence, if you were ever in doubt about not being able to find the difference between pickling spice and pickling salt, you will get your answers in the table we have shared below.

Pickling Spice Vs Pickling Salt - SpiceRally
Pickling SpicePickling Salt
Ingredients– Mustard seeds
– Allspice
– Cinnamon
Coriander seeds
– Red chili flakes
– Black peppercorns
– Ginger
– Cloves
– Bay leaves
– Juniper berries
– Mace
– Star anise
– Dill seeds
– Cardamom
Salt (pure sodium chloride without iodine, anti-caking agents, or other additives)
Flavor ProfileFlavorful than pickling salt with profound, rich, warm, and lingering flavor notes.Compared nowhere to the flavor of the pickling spice mix. It is just salty.
TextureMore coarse than pickling salt.Less coarse than pickling spice that has a fine texture.
Purpose in pickling or canning foodTo add a rich flavor and aroma.To help draw moisture from vegetables and fruits and support them to stay well and crisp for a long time. This also seasons the pickles with a saltiness.
Usage in cooking– Primary use is to be added in pickles or canned recipes.
– To flavor rice dishes
– To be incorporated into stews and soups
– As an ingredient in braised meat dishes
– To flavor stocks
– As an ingredient in wet rubs or marinades 
– To use as a dry rub
Particularly used in preserving or canning food.
Category of foodSpice blendSeasoning
Availability– Comes in containers and packets
– Widely available in grocery stores, online shopping sites, and supermarkets.
– Usually comes in packets.
– Readily available in most supermarkets and online sellers.

Pickling Spice vs Pickling Salt- Difference Explained.

To begin with, pickling spice and pickling salt aren’t the same by any means, even though both of them are used in similar types of food that are pickled and canned.

Nevertheless, the pickling spice blend is used in several other recipes apart from its conventional addition to pickles or canned food. Meanwhile, pickling salt is mainly and specifically used in pickling (preserving) or canning food.

What will you do if you ever run out of pickling spice blend? Take a minute and refer to this article if you need to learn about the substitutes for this spice mixture.

As mentioned previously, pickling spice is a mixture of many spices and herbs. But pickling salt is just one element that only contains salt (pure sodium chloride) without iodine, anti-caking agents, or any other additive.

Their roles also differ in terms of preserving or canning. Pickling spice adds flavor and aroma to the pickled dish. In comparison, pickling salt supports drawing moisture from vegetables or fruits that would help them stay crunchy and firm for a longer period. However, they complement each other in the dish to bring out the flavors.

Concluding With Pickling Spice vs Pickling Salt…

You just discovered the real difference between pickling salt and pickling spice, especially when it comes down to canning or pickling food. In fact, they both are two completely different cooking elements with diverse contents, textures, usage in cooking, etc. 

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